Once an islander hears about a long distance love story, where the gentleman resides in the islands and the woman lives abroad, the automatic assumption is, “mmhmm, him a look him papers.” As a bystander to these relationships, every Caribbean American has borne witness to instances where true love has prevailed, and others where as soon as the person received their permanent green card, things went sour. Not as commonly discussed, but just as prominent, are long distance relationships in which Island men would much rather stay home.
There is an immediate- yet false assumption- that given the opportunity to leave the islands, any one would jump for the chance. After all, there are far better opportunities in the states, your light never goes out for hours, you can tweet about your disgruntled experience with your phone company and get actual results, you can even walk into a car dealership and get a car without paying a single dollar. What’s not to love? Right? Well, those who live more than comfortable lives at home (earning comparable salaries) are far less inclined to leave. After all, who would give up living in paradise in search of opportunities in a primarily work-driven society.
The island man is a proud specie, with values still anchored on archaic ideas of masculinity and patriarchy. For those who have been able to sustain a certain level of success at “home,” they have established a life in which they are Mr. ‘So and So.’ The bees knees of his expertise who when placed in certain arenas is immediately recognized by his stature and regarded as such.They are the big fishes in a small pond. Leaving a setting where they are highly regarded is not at all appealing, especially when the other option involves starting over elsewhere. Men are also concerned about moving into a females layer. That too, provides an additional yield of control. After all, “mi nah move inna nuh woman place so them can turn round and tell me fi get out.”
Many Caribbean Americans in long distance relationships now-a-days are surprised to find that the major issue of contention is getting their partners to leave. It’s truly an entirely different beast, dating a man who has a lot going for him in the islands versus a man who has little to leave behind. Things are changing, and the grass on the American side is no longer deemed as green as you may think.
What do you think about the migration trend in relationships? What stories have you heard?